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A Little About my Yoga Journey

Everyone who has a daily yoga practice has had a journey into yoga. Creating and sustaining a yoga practice is not something that happens overnight. It’s something that evolves over time… here are some highlights from my journey to practicing, studying and teaching yoga.

First of all, my path in life was always to be a teacher.

That desire to teach was always within me. I just didn’t realise that eventually this would lead me to be a yoga teacher. I come to this role after 35 wonderful years in the education sector (in the UK and overseas). 

I began to practice from yoga books... it wasn't enough.

The seed of yoga was planted in my youth, since there was yoga practice in my house. However, my personal practice did not start in earnest till my 30s, when I began to practice yoga from books. At the time I was living in a corner of the world where there were no yoga teachers, so books were my go-to resource . On its own this was not enough, I needed the guidance of a more experienced practitioner, or teacher.

Health issues and pain brought me closer to yoga.

Unfortunately, I suffered a back injury which caused immense pain. Alongside medical investigations and physiotherapy treatment, I turned to Mindfulness and Yoga. To help manage my pain, I followed an 8-week mindfulness programme and also applied a short physiotherapy routine into my life daily. Many of these practices looked like yoga. This process helped me to step out of a deeply ingrained pain cycle, and take control of my health. Eventually I found more comfort and strength in my back once again.

I finally found a yoga teacher (living in Saudi Arabia).

My journey to yoga deepened when I joined an ashtanga inspired class. I went from practising once a week, to twice a week (guided, in class), and then to practising in between classes as well. I gradually saw improvements in my mobility, strength and flexibility. More importantly I felt the benefit of the changes in my life.

New habits came into my life... and stuck.

I was inspired by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) vision for a reduction in non-communicable disease through lifestyle factors. I started to change my daily habits… by eating more wholesome foods (less processed food), taking more exercise (walking, running, yoga) and paying attention to sleep habits. Over time I reached a healthy BMI for my height (I wasn’t on a diet). 

Life threw up new challenges... so I leaned into my fear.

Then Covid happened… It was a terrifying time for us all, since we were dealing with the unknown. I was physically separated from family, being thousands of miles away from home, and my biggest fear was not seeing family members in person again (fear of loss). During the months of lockdown, I decided to focus on what I could control in my life, and that happened to be taking care of my wellness… which happened to include yoga, which I practised every day… and posted on Instagram (my way of letting go of my fears… after all in the face of death, why fear public judgement?)

I embraced initial Yoga Teacher Training

Then I took a leap, and decided to do a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in Mindful Movement and Vinyasa. Immediately after signing up i panicked... I thought I’d get kicked off the course because I could not do a headstand… of course I was to learn that having a yoga practice is not about being able to do a headstand or any other fancy posture that ties you in knots. This is when the world of yoga really opened up to me. I learned how to practice asana (postures) and vinyasa (movement and connection of postures with the breath) safely, and I learned about the history and philosophy of yoga, about pranayama and meditation, about Yoga Nidra, and much, much more. This training set up a foundation on which to build.

My studies deepened... l learned key principles for high impact.

And I voraciously went on to complete the very challenging and rigorous Yoga Sports CoachTM qualification (another 200-hour) training, which taught me how to apply key principles for high impact. The course was for athletes, though I always had the movement needs of the everyday person in mind, which was the real reason I joined the course.

My study of the therapeutic benefits of yoga continues.

Most recently, I embarked on learning about the therapeutic benefits of Yoga with the Svastha Yoga Therapy Programme (based in Chennai, India). And having completed the 300-hour programme in yoga and Ayurveda for balance and wellness, I feel honoured to be a student of A.G.Mohan and Indra Mohan and their son Ganesh Mohan. Every month, I continue to meet online with my teachers and mentors for ongoing development and practice.

Julie Geissler (April 2024)

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Copyright (2024) Julie Geissler 

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Written content and photos by Julie Geissler. All rights reserved.

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